FC: The Catcher in the Rye & The Monomyth Novel by J.D. Salinger Mixbook by Casey Aldridge
1: Stage I The Departure
2: Holden Caulfield, the subject of the story, and a student at Pencey Prep, is flunking out of school (Salinger 6). Not that he cares that much. Holden is a very bright student, he just does not particularly care to apply himself at all. "They gave the ax quite frequently at Pencey," Holden remarked after being expelled for his lackluster grades (Salinger 6-7). He had received multiple warnings, "especially around mid- terms," yet he never felt the need or urge to actually apply himself, and therefore "got the ax" so that Pencey Prep could maintain their stellar academic rating (Salinger 6). | The Call to Adventure
3: Refusal of the Call | After his expulsion from the school, Holden is required to pack his bags and board the next train. However, Holden "do[es]n't care if it's a sad good- by or a bad good-by, but when [he] leave[s] a place [he] like[s] to know [he's] leaving it" (Salinger 7). Holden stops by Old Spencer's, his former history professor, who provides him with advice, that Holden, for the time, disregards (Salinger 18-21). He spends time up in the dormitories with Ackley, Stradlater, and the others. Despite thinking of them as morons, or bad words, he stayed behind to spend a little time with them and say good-by. "I wasn't too crazy about him, to tell ya the truth," Holden remarked about his impression of Ackley, yet he still took his time to bring closure and resolution to the relationship he had with his peers (Salinger 26).
4: During his time saying good-by at Pencey, Holden stopped by Old Spencer's house, his former history professor. Old Spencer had left him a note to stop by so that he could ask "what was wrong with him" (Salinger 14). "Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy?" Spencer asks an apathetic Holden, who replies that he "ha[s]n't really though about it" (Salinger 14). This concern he shows for Holden is proof that others want him to succeed, yet he hasn't quite yet realized what matters to him. He, quite frankly, does not care. | Supernatural Aid
5: Crossing the Threshold | Holden walks through the snow to the train station from which he will leave Pencey and Agerstown, Pennsylvania. From this point on, his journey to find himself and what matters to him begins. When he encounters fellow classmate Ernest Morrow's mother, he makes up a bunch of "phony" lies about Ernest being the sweetest kid in the school (Salinger 70-72) Holden can't stand Morrow at all, yet he feels the inclination to lie about him to his mother. He began to read magazines "just to stop lying. Once [he got] started, [he could] go on for hours if [he] felt like it. No kidding. Hours" (Salinger 76). He begins smoking and offers to order alcoholic drinks, both of which he is underage for. He doesn't break the laws particularly because he wants to or feels oppressed by the laws, he just doesn't care about laws, or his future, at all.
6: Belly of the Whale | Once Holden gets off of the train at Penn Station, New York City, there is no turning back. He debates calling his older brother D.B., his little sister Phoebe, and Sally Hayes, a girl he "used to go around with quite frequently," yet none of them were available (Salinger 77). He calls a cab, books a room at Edmont Hotel, and begins to "operate" on his own, which will eventually result in maturation of our subject. The first thing he does in the hotel is call up a girl that he's never met but that he'd heard of from a friend... typical Holden Caulfield (Salinger 83).
7: Stage II | Initiation
8: At the beginning of the story, Holden knows (for the most part) what he is not. He can spot the "phonies" and feels considerable contempt for many mainstream concepts, including Hollywood and movies. On the other hand, he doesn't always appear to know who he really is. At Pencey, he seems a boy without a single care in the world. In reality, Holden doesn't yet know what matters most to him. During his path, he is forced to come to that enlightenment. His accounts of dealing with being drunk (and trying to get drunk on other occasions) indicate that he feels he would "appear cooler" with alcohol (Salinger 195). He wants to drink for the sake of appearing older, more capable, etc. Still, several events show the better side of Holden Caulfield during his journey through the city. When he chose to have Sunny, the prostitute, show up at his hotel room, he was acting on immature impulse. A terrific example of his complex character is that he "really just wanted to talk to her", and has no qualms paying her for merely giving him company (Salinger 124). He dances with girls and goes out with girls, asks girls to run away with him and thinks about girls, partially because he thinks he is supposed to. We learn most about Holden in his thoughts relating to his very liberal attitude towards Jesus, Catholics, war, and such (Salinger 131, 146, 183 respectively). What he realizes, in the end, is that the person he cares most about and makes him the happiest, is Phoebe Caulfield, his younger sister. | Road of Trials
9: Holden always seems to be fond of his younger sister, Phoebe Caulfield. He describes her as "a little too affectionate sometimes. She's very emotional, for a child" (Salinger 89). According to Holden, Phoebe is a very sweet, likable child. Throughout the book, she seems like the one figure he really wants to find and be with. He attempted to call her once, tried tracking her down at school until he realized it was a Sunday, and eventually snuck into his own family's house - making sure not to alert his parents of his presence - to see his little sis. "Old Phoebe didn't even wake up," Holden thought as he sat watching her sleep and looked around her room (which used to belong to his older brother D.B.) (Salinger 206). He decided on waking her up, even though he was afraid that would wake his mother up, and they were both ecstatic to see each other. However, when she realized he had been kicked out of school, she became upset, fearing their father will "kill him" (Salinger 214). | Meeting With The Goddess
10: Temptation | "Well, listen. I was wondering if you were busy today. It's Sunday, but there's always one or two matinees going on Sunday... Would you care to go?" Holden asked Sally Hayes, a girl with whom he used to date (Salinger 138). He later regrets having made the date, rather being able to see Phoebe or having some time to himself, but when she arrived late to see "The Lunts," she apparently "looked terrific" and he wasn't upset (Salinger 162). Holden always claims to lose control around girls, and this occasion is no exception. He tells Sally he loves her and kisses her in the back of the cab. They watched the movie, which made Holden want to puke, and then went ice-skating at Radio City. Hormones firing on all cylinders and ranting about how he hates school and the city and all the phonies, he proposes an idea to Sally. "How would you like to get the hell out of here?" Holden asked, wishing to run away with her to the countryside of Massachusetts or Vermont where they wouldn't have to deal with anyone else (Salinger 171).
11: D.B. Caulfield is Holden's older brother, a screenwriter in Hollywood that Holden seems to hold a love/hate relationship with. He claims that his brother is his favorite author, and an incredibly smart young man. The most in-depth to D.B.'s ideology that Holden goes is when he discusses his brother's war experience. D.B. hated his own army just as much as the Nazi's, saying they were no different at all. Holden, similarly, claims "if there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of [the atomic bomb]. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will" (Salinger 183). However, as the book progresses, Holden appears to have less and less envy to be just like D.B., realizing that, as much as he's always pretended, D.B. is not who he wants to be. He mentions several times how "phony" D.B. is for his Hollywood work and criticizes him when Phoebe tells him that he may not spend Christmas with the family because he opts to "stay in Hollywood and write a picture about Annapolis" (Salinger 212). | Atonement with the Father
12: Apotheosis | The title of the book first appears when Holden spotted a young boy walking with his parents on the side of the curb. They appeared to be a poor family, and the child was singing, "If a body catch a body coming through the rye" (Salinger 150). Holden, who had been feeling rather depressed, said that the song made him feel a little bit happier. While with Phoebe later on, he mentions the song again. Apparently, it is a poem by Robert Burns, and he had misinterpreted the lyrics. Phoebe lets him know that the actual words are "If a body meet a body coming through the rye" (Salinger 224). Holden had assumed, in his mind, that "thousands of little kids" were "playing some game in the big field of rye and all" (Salinger 224). He imagines that he has to save them from falling off the side of the cliff. It really is the first time that he ever cares for others that he doesn't particularly know. He has evolved into a much more mature and even a very good-hearted individual.
13: Return | Stage III
14: Holden decides to break the news of his decision to leave and go west to Phoebe during school one day. Seeing the "F-word" written on the wall, Holden wipes it off with his hand. He doesn't want any of the young students to see it on the wall. Seeing it again, this time carved in where he can't erase it, he becomes even more depressed. He tracked down Phoebe at the museum because he couldn't find the principal to give the note to. The note requested that Phoebe meet him around noon, because Holden said he would "probably hitch hike out west [that] afternoon" (Salinger 260). Holden really cared a lot for Phoebe, and didn't want to leave her. However, both he and she feared what his dad would do to him when he found out Holden had been expelled for poor academics. He felt he had little choice but to leave New York. Still, his affection for his little sister kept him from doing that immediately, and ultimately from departing at all. | Refusal of the Return
15: Holden continually refuses to take Phoebe back to school, telling her to "stop crying and shut up" (Salinger 268). Seeing her lie there crying, however, "kills [him]," and he has a change of heart (Salinger 269). Being stubborn and angry at him, she then refuses to go back to school with him to play Benedict Arnold in the school play. Hoping to cheer her up, he took her to the zoo. Then, Holden offers Phoebe a ride on the merry-go-round, which she disregards once or twice, trying to be "sore" at him, though he can tell she wants to ride the merry-go-round. When she finally accepts his offer, she excitedly gets on "this big, brown, beat-up-looking horse" as Holden watched from a bench (Salinger 273). After she gets off, he gives her some more "dough" and lets it slip that he's going home. At this point, Phoebe is instantly happier, giving him a quick kiss and putting his hunting hat on his head so that he can stay dry watching her ride the merry-go-round in the pouring rain. Holden is the sweet, caring brother he had never known how to be before. "God, I wish you could've been there," he concludes about the beautiful moment (Salinger 276). Holden kept his promise and returned home. As expected, his parents were angry to see he'd been kicked out, and had psychoanalysts (as well as D.B.) to question when he would begin to apply himself. Holden's reply is "[he] think[s] [he] will, but how do[es] [he] know?" (Salinger 276). Holden doesn't know what the future holds, but he has found himself through his journey, and that's all that really matters. | Master of Two Worlds
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